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Emeka Okafor
Works at TED,Maker Faire Africa,Bronze Belt Foundry
Lives in New York
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Emeka Okafor is an entrepreneur and venture catalyst who lives in New York City.He is the curator of Maker Faire Africa.He was the director for TED Global 2007 that took place in Arusha,Tanzania.Other associations include TED fellowships and the Africa Innovation Foundation.His interests include sustainable technologies in the developing world and paradigm breaking technologies in general. His blog, Timbuktu Chronicles seeks to spur dialogue in areas of entrepreneurship, technology and the scientific method as it impacts Africa. "Timbuktu is a city unsullied by the worship of idols...a refuge of scholarly and righteous folk, a haunt of saints and ascetics, and a meeting place of caravans and boats" -Al-Sa'Di
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entrepreneur,blogger
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  • TED,Maker Faire Africa,Bronze Belt Foundry
    entrepreneur,blogger, present
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Emeka Okafor

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Tunde Wey on the road
From NPR : //oyinbo pepper, looku looku pepper, you go marry oyinbo pepper// nursery rhymes from back in the day// pepper soup seasonings A photo posted by Lagos: Dope Nigerian Food (@lagos_restaurant) on Jul 5, 2015 at 9:03am PDT Most aspiring chefs long f...
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We've been eating them for a while - Africa's Super Vegetables
A topic covered quite frequently here . Rachel Cernansky writing in Nature : Pete Muller/Prime for Nature Long overlooked in parts of Africa, indigenous greens are now capturing attention for their nutritional and environmental benefits . One lunchtime in e...
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Reinvigorating Agricultural Co-operatives in Africa
Donnas Ojok writing in Africa at LSE : ...Co-ops still present a unique opportunity to revolutionise the agricultural sector in Africa . A few co-ops in Africa have already defied the odds and are emerging as a new breed of farmer organisations. These are s...
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Sampling, Remixing, and Making with Pop-Up Factories
David Cranor writing in Radar : Images by Halfdan and Rachel Kalmar; image compilation courtesy of  Andrew “bunnie” Huang ,  Building hardware is hard, indeed. Until we have general purpose matter compilers, development of hardware products will differ dram...
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I Am Khama - A film
In Okay Africa : I Am Khama is a forthcoming animated feature film loosely based on King Khama III’s 1895 campaign to protect Becheunaland (now Botswana) from continued plunder by British imperialist Cecil Rhodes...[ more ]
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This is how a molecular computer would look like, if seen with a magically powerful microscope. It is a single molecule which interacts randomly with other molecules, called "enzymes", invisible in this animation.

There is no control over the order of the chemical reactions. This is the idea, to compute without control.

The way it works is like this: whenever a reaction happens, this creates the conditions for the next reaction to happen.

There is no need to use a supercomputer to model such a molecule, nor is it reasonable to try, because of big number of the atoms.

It is enough instead to find real molecular assemblies for nodes, ports and bonds, figured here by colored circles and lines.

The only computations needed are those for simulating the family of rewrites - chemical reactions. Every such rewrite involves up to 4 nodes, therefore the computational task is handy.

Verify once that the rewrites are well done, independently of the situation where you want to apply them, that is all.

Once such molecular compounds are found, the next task is to figure out how to build (by chemical reactions) such molecules.

But once one succeeds to build one molecule, the rest is left to Nature way of computing: random, local, asynchronous.

From this stage there is no need to simulate huge molecules in order to know they work. That is something given by the chemlambda formalism.

It is so simple: translate the rewrites into real chemistry, they are easy, then let go the unneeded control from that point on.

This animation is a screencast of a part of the article Molecular computers
http://chorasimilarity.github.io/chemlambda-gui/dynamic/molecular.html
and everything can be validated (i.e. verified by your own) by using the chemlambda repository
https://github.com/chorasimilarity/chemlambda-gui/tree/gh-pages/dynamic

Now I'll pass to a list of critics which, faced with the evidence, they look uninformed:
1. Chemlambda is one of those rewriting systems everybody knows. Ignorant claim, while it is true that some rewrites appear all over the place, from string theory to knot theory to category theory to geometry of interaction, the family of graphs considered is not the same, because those graphs are purely combinatorial object and they don't need a global embedding, like all other formalism do, in a schematic space-time. Moreover, the choice of the rewrites is such that the system works only by local rewriting and no global control on the cascade of rewrites. No other formalism from the family does that. 

2.  Is well known that all this is already done in the category theory treatment of lambda calculus.

False, if one really reads what they do in category theory with lambda calculus, then one figures quick that they can't do much for untyped lambda beta calculus, that is without eta reduction. This is mentioned explicitly in Barendregt, for example, but the hype around categories and lambda calculus is so pervasive that people believe more than what actually is.

3.  Chemical computing is old stuff: DNA computing, membrane computing, the chemical abstract machine, algorithmic chemistry.

Just because it is chemical computing, it does not mean that it is in the family mentioned.

The first name of chemlambda was "chemical concrete machine" and there there are comparison with the chemical abstract machine
http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.6914
(btw I see that some people discover now "catalysts" without credits in the written papers)
The cham is a formalism working with multisets of molecules, not with individual ones, and the computation is done by what corresponds to lab operation (splitting a solution in two, heating, cooling, etc)
The membrane computing work is done around membranes which enclose containers of multisets of molecules, the membrane themselves being some abstract concepts, of a global nature, whil ein reality, as well as in chemlambda, everything is a molecule. Membranes exist in reality but they are made of many molecular compounds.
DNA computing is an amazing research subject, which may be related to chemlambda if there is a realization of chemlambda nodes, ports and bonds, but not otherwise, because there is not, up to my knowledge, any model in DNA computing with the properties: individual molecules, random reactions, not lab operations.
Algorithmic chemistry is indeed very much related to chemlambda, by the fact that it proposes a chemical view on lambda calculus. But from this great insight, the paths are very different. In algorithmic chemistry the application operation from lambda calculus represents a chemical reaction and the lambda abstraction signals a reactive site. In chemlambda the application and lambda abstraction corresponds to atoms of molecules. Besides, chemlambda is not restricted to lambda calculus, only some of the chemlambda molecules can be put in relation with lambda terms, but even for those, the reactions they enter don't guarantee that the result is a molecule for a lambda term.

Conclusion: if you are a chemist, consider chemlambda, there is nothing like it already proposed. The new idea is to let control go and instead chain the randomly appearing reactions by their spatial patterns, not by lab operations, nor by impossibly sophisticated simulations.
Even if in reality there would be more constraints (coming from the real spatial shapes of the molecules constructed from these fundamental bricks) this would only influence the weights of the random encounters with the enzymes, thus not modifying the basic formalism.
And if it work in reality, even for only situations where there are cascades of tens of reactions, not hundreds or thousands, even that would be a tremendous advance in chemical computing, when compared with the old idea of copying boolean gates and silicon computers circuits.
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Emeka Okafor

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Journey to, and adventures in Somaliland
From Dayo Olopade in Natgeo Traveller : Somalia has long represented the quintessential ‘failed state’. But it’s not the only country in the neighbourhood. Since 1991, when the end of Siad Barre’s dictatorship plunged the nation into anarchy, the northern r...
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Worn In - Tembisa
From I-D : For the first in our Worn In series, we travel to downtown Johannesburg, where for the Skhothane, life is all about looking good and making money. As The Casa Novas and The Pro Italian Takers take it outside to the streets of Tembisa, director Pi...
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Converging Streams: Art and Science
From the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics : A meditation on the ways art and science "converge and coalesce" in the human search for understanding. via Frog Heart
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Building an Instant Noodle Business
Lee Middleton in Quartz : ...Outside traditional open-air markets, food in Africa is largely a spin of the non-African globe: Marie biscuits from Dubai, butter from Ireland, rice from Thailand. This reality is reflected in an annual food import bill that is...
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Asia's Economic Miracle and Possible Road Maps for Africa
Familiar conclusions in Next Big Future : Joe Studwell’s book How Asia Works is a great look at the factors that drove the rapid economic growth in several Asian countries. Bill Gates, recommends it for anyone who’s doing business in Asia. Studwell’s answer...
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Interesting article from Slate published earlier this month on the importance of sewing in STEM classes. My blended identity has greatly influenced my own research, which focuses on, among other th...
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